A Closer Look at the Northern Shoveler

by Larry on January 30, 2013

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata) photos by Larry Jordan

The Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata), unlike most dabbling ducks, has a bill ideally suited for straining small swimming crustaceans from the water (click on photos for full sized images).

Northern Shovelers

This is the drake in breeding plumage photographed at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge last week.

Northern Shoveler

Note the spatulate bill…

Northern Shoveler

perfectly shaped for straining the water surface while swimming.

This is a closer shot of the female Northern Shoveler.

Northern Shoveler

Here you can see the series of comblike lamellae (described as fine, almost hairlike, parallel ridges lining the bills of some waterbirds, including some geese and flamingos) along the lateral edge of the drake’s beak.

Northern Shoveler

To see more great bird photos, check out Wild Bird Wednesday and The Bird D’pot!

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